Richard Russo’s Novel, Empire Falls

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In Richard Russo’s novel, Empire Falls, he tells the stories of many different characters that are longtime residents of a small mill town in Empire Falls, Maine. Some of the residents, like Miles Roby, born and raised in Empire Falls, and his mother, Grace Roby, who worked for C.B. and Mrs. Francine Whiting, who are the owners of the mill and most of the town. Because of the events throughout the years, Francine ended up running the business by herself. Mrs. Whiting called Miles and asked him to come home to help take care of his ailing mother. Eventually this led Francine to ask Miles to take over running the Empire Grill and an offer to leave him the ownership in her will. Miles would have been better off if he didn’t accept the offer to run the Empire Grill. Miles would have finished college if he hadn’t accepted the offer. Miles was in his third year of college when he received a call from Mrs. Whiting. She tried to get hold of him for many days and when she finally did, she informed him that his mother was dying. Because his father, Max Roby, was not around consistently, Miles couldn’t count on him to help. Mrs. Whiting made this offer “If Miles was willing to gradually take over and run the restaurant for a year or so…Mrs. Whiting would see to it that Grace had what she needed”(Russo 393). This made it hard for him to return to school, proving that if he wouldn’t have accepted the offer, he would have been better off. Miles staying and taking on the management of the Grill made him dependent upon Mrs. Whiting. She was a woman who had a lot of power and control, which seemed to exude everywhere in the town. Because Francine owned the Empire Grill, Miles was at her mercy. What he didn’t realize until later was that his mot... ... middle of paper ... ...ire Grill. By Miles being free to choose his own destiny, he would have been able to finish college and become the writer that he had aspired to be. He never would have married Janine, because there were no other decent choices, and he could have met the woman that he was meant to be with. Miles never would have to deal with the advances of Cindy Whiting again, and he would have been out of the clutches of Mrs. Whiting’s power and control. Neither Miles, nor Tick, would have been part of a deadly, violent, and terrible shooting. Miles could have raised his family in a quiet and safe environment. Miles lived a life he should never have. He had been manipulated into taking the position at the Grill. Miles would have been better off if he didn’t accept the offer to take care of the grill. Work Cited Russo, Richard. Empire Falls. New York: Vintage, 2001.Print.

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